Planning Notice 20/00071/FUL

Residents may be interested in Planning Notice 20/00071/FUL which is a hybrid application, part full and part outline comprising:

  1. Retail foodstore (A1), retail/cafe units, including drive thru (A1, A3, A5), associated parking, servicing and landscaping (full).
  2. General industry (B2) and storage and distribution (B8), associated servicing and landscaping (outline – all matters reserved except access).

The application covers the land East of 1 To 5 Eagle Way which is adjacent to the current retail outlets at the bottom of Channels Drive (i.e. Shell garage, Costa & McDonalds). It will also be directly adjacent to our site wide open parkland space.

The full set of documents can be found on the Chelmsford City Council Planning Portal and Little Waltham Parish Council will no doubt have this on their list of Planning Notices to be discussed at their next Parish Meeting on Tuesday 3rd March.

Please note that comments have to be made by Friday 13th March 2020.

Planning Updates

Chelmsford City Council has received amendments relating to application 19/00581/REM which incorporate proposed changes to the general design, additional soft landscaping and responses to comments received from local stakeholders and residents of both Beaulieu & Channels.

The details of the amended application are on the Planning Portal under ‘Plans & Documents’.

Update 2nd July 2019:
City Councillor Barry Knight advised at the Little Waltham Parish Council Meeting on 2nd July that the application has been referred to, and will be considered at, Planning Committee in early August.

Residents are reminded that the deadline for posting comments is Wednesday 10th July and it is important that if you want your view to be known, they are submitted via the planning portal for consideration by the Planning Committee.

Planning Applications

Please find details & links below of 3 recent planning applications that residents may wish to view and comment on:

The details can be found here and comments need to be submitted no later than 25th May 2019.

The details can be found here and comments need to be submitted no later than 28th May 2019.

The details can be found here and comments need to be submitted no later than 29th May 2019.

Residents Update

As residents may be aware, the Community Group has raised concerns over recent months about the lack of accountability and governance in relation to the site-wide management company. Neither residents nor our own management company sit on the board of the site-wide organisation and as such decisions can potentially be taken unilaterally (including changes to site-wide service charges) which may impact on residents.

Due to continued lobbying by the Community Group, monthly meetings have been set up to facilitate better communication in relation to site-wide matters. The meetings include as attendees each of the developers, the land owners (and their agent), a Community Group representative, a Croudace residents representative and DJC Property Management.

Whilst this does not give us any formal voting rights, it does mean we have a voice at the table and can receive information that may impact us. The first formal meeting was held on Friday 1st February and the key points of discussion are summarised below.

House Builders Update
Marden Homes will begin works for Phase 4 (around the main lake) in April and expect to be onsite for circa 18-20 months. There are ongoing discussions about access and due to concerns flagged by residents, Marden will forward a plan (awaiting sign off by Council Planning) which explains how they will manage the site. This will include where works traffic will be routed, where contractors will park and how the site will be cordoned off. This will also confirm whether the bridle path that runs past the lake will be closed. Once the plan is received, it will be made available via the website.

Home Group are accelerating their build and the first residents are due to move in towards the end of February. Marden Homes will be beginning Phase 6 (around the smaller lakes) in June. Bellway are due to have their last completion in March and will be off-site soon after this.

Public Open Spaces
As part of S106 planning conditions, Marden Homes have responsibility for the construction of the public open spaces. Work is due to start imminently and this will include a pathway to enable safe passage to the retail units on Essex Regiment Way. The completion of the open spaces to the North of where Homegroup are building will dovetail with the completion of Phase 6 and as such these areas are unlikely to be accessible to us for some time.

All of the open spaces will eventually facilitate easy pedestrian/cycle access across the entire development, up to where the new David Lloyd club will be located (subject to planning approval). We are liaising with the landowners agent to determine whether residents can have any input to the design of the open spaces.

Public Artwork
As part of S106 planning conditions, one of the developers has provided a sum of money to the City Council to fund public artwork. It is unclear what form this will take or where the art will be located however we are liaising with the landowners agent to determine what the council has planned, what the timescales are and whether residents can have any input.

Bus Service
All stakeholders are aware of the issues experienced with the bus service. First Bus have agreed to send a representative to the next meeting to explain their plan for improvement. There is consensus that First Bus need to be robustly held to account by all stakeholders especially as the service is currently funded by developers.

Nursery Site (Bellway)
Bellway have a responsibility to prepare the land identified for the nursery prior to leaving the site however they have no responsibility as part of planning to build it. In fact it would appear that Bellway flagged to the council early on that they had no intention to build the nursery as this was not their area of expertise. At present no developer has taken on the project and the council has been made aware of the position.

David Lloyd Club
It is likely that a formal planning application will not be made until June/July however there appears to be widespread support for the idea. David Lloyd will be represented at the forthcoming Little Waltham Parish Council meeting on Tuesday 5th February where they will explain more about the plan and give the public an opportunity to ask questions.

As always, feel free to send feedback or ask questions via the website 🙂

Local Planning Application

Residents may be interested to know that following preliminary discussion with Chelmsford City Planning Officers, there is an intention to bring forward a planning application for a David Lloyd Health & Racquets Club on the land shown below:

This information has come to light through a letter received by Little Waltham Parish Council on behalf of the developer.

As part of the community engagement process, residents are welcome to attend the next Parish Council meeting to better understand what is being proposed and to ask questions about the plans. The developer (or their representative) will be present.

The next Parish Council meeting is scheduled for Tuesday 5th February at 7.30pm at the Tufnell Hall, The Street, Little Waltham.

Future Channels Development

Residents will be aware that there has been some confusion in relation to Planning Notices that have been posted around the Channels site recently. The Notices linked to a submission by the landowners to amend S106 planning conditions which required the continued provision of an 18 hole golf course adjacent to the site.

In the absence of robust information as to what this would mean for residents, I met with Ptarmigan Land (who work with the landowners to develop and sell land) in an attempt to clarify the position. The information below is high level however it does make clear the position as conveyed to the Community Group.

The diagram below shows three key land areas. The area within the red boundary represents the current Channels development and includes all phases of building that were originally planned. The darker blue boundary represents land that was identified as part of the original master plan and is where the 18 hole golf course was to be re-provided. The lighter blue areas belong to the landowner and part of this land (Little Channels) is where new golfing & leisure facilities are proposed to be situated.

It is important to note that part of the original master plan was always to create large areas of landscaped parkland within the original development boundary. The image below shows the areas that will be developed and the Community Group Committee does have access to detailed landscaping drawings which make clear the extensive work that will be undertaken for the benefit of residents.

It is also important to note that the land to the North & North East of the original development boundary has long been identified for potential future housing as part of the North Chelmsford Area Action Plan. Whilst original planning conditions (approved over 6 years ago) required the continued provision of an 18 hole golf course, it seems that it was always likely the land would at some stage be required for housing development.

Taking this into account, and given the fact that the landowners have provided comprehensive information to support the fact that provision of an 18 hole golf course is no longer a viable business model, it would appear that future development to the North & North East is inevitable. The landowners have additionally provided detailed plans of how they wish to develop Little Channels into a different type of golfing & leisure complex.

As it stands if the S106 planning modification is granted, it does potentially pave the way for some housing development although to some extent this was always identified for the general area anyway. There is additional road infrastructure planned as part of any future development (including the North East Bypass) and it is probably the impact of this infrastructure not happening which should be the biggest concern for residents.

The proposed parkland is currently part of the remaining golf course. If the S016 modification is not granted, the parkland will still become available however this may take far longer. If the S106 modification is granted, work can begin much sooner and residents will have access to large areas of managed parkland, walking & cycling trails all of which should start to be accessible from Spring 2019.

Although the window for commenting on the planning submission has closed, all of the documents including the covering statement and proposals for new facilities at Little Channels, can be found here.

Andrew Wright
Chair, Channels Residents Community Group